January 12, 2021

“Year of Saint Joseph” from today, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021

With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from today, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021.


By Vatican News

In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.

The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.

The Holy Father wrote Patris corde against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.”

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Patris Corde Apostolic Letter of The Holy Father Pope Francis


WITH A FATHER’S HEART: that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as “the son of Joseph”.[1]

Matthew and Luke, the two Evangelists who speak most of Joseph, tell us very little, yet enough for us to appreciate what sort of father he was, and the mission entrusted to him by God’s providence.

We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), betrothed to Mary (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27). He was a “just man” (Mt 1:19), ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him in the Law (cf. Lk 2:22.27.39) and through four dreams (cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13.19.22). After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since “there was no place for them” elsewhere (cf. Lk 2:7).

He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (cf. Mt 2:1-12), who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.

Joseph had the courage to become the legal father of Jesus, to whom he gave the name revealed by the angel: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). As we know, for ancient peoples, to give a name to a person or to a thing, as Adam did in the account in the Book of Genesis (cf. 2:19-20), was to establish a relationship.

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A Pastoral Letter by the Most Reverend John O. Barres “Go to Joseph!”

A Pastoral Letter by The Most Reverend John O. Barres on The 150th Anniversary Of The Declaration Of St. Joseph As Patron Of The Catholic Church

One hundred and fifty years ago, Pope Blessed Pius IX solemnly declared St. Joseph, the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the “foster” father of Our Savior, to be the Patron of the Catholic Church.1 At the same time, the Pope raised the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19 to that of a Solemnity.2 Why did the Holy Father choose precisely that moment in the Church’s history to make such a declaration? And why, a century and a half later, should this title given to St. Joseph be important for all of us?

This anniversary grants us the opportunity to look at the life of this great saint with new eyes and from a fresh perspective. Although saints live in a particular time and place, their holiness and example transcend those limits, and make them truly examples for every age. In a very particular way, this carpenter from First Century Galilee has much to teach us about how to live our Catholic Faith in the troubled 21st Century.

St. Joseph in Sacred Scripture

It may come as a surprise to even the most faithful Catholics that St. Joseph makes only a few appearances in Sacred Scripture. He appears a number of times in St. Luke’s Gospel; is mentioned only twice in passing in St. John’s Gospel; and is not referred to at all by St. Mark. It is, however, in the Gospel of St. Matthew where we get the most information about St. Joseph.

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